All Christian Bale Movies Ranked

Welcome to Rotten Tomatoes, where we’ve got Bale by the barrel! There’s skinny Bale (The Machinist) and big Bale (American Hustle), edgy Bale (The Fighter) and business Bale (American Psycho). Not to mention two varieties of P.O.W. Bale (Empire of the Sun, Rescue Dawn)! We’ve got cowl Bale (The Dark Knight) if that’s your fever, along with cool Bale (Equilibrium) and magic Bale (The Prestige). Then there’s bard Bale (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) if you’re a person of letters, which we suggest pairing with a biblical Bale (Exodus: Gods and Kings). A Christian Bale, if you please.

Bale’s been nominated for an Oscar four times (winning in 2011 for The Fighter), with the latest in 2019 for Vice. Ford v Ferrari wasn’t nominated for any of its performances, though it did land one for Best Picture. And now he’s in talks to jump from the world of DC to Marvel for a role in Thor: Love and Thunder. Come what may in 2021: First, we’re ranking the best Christian Bale movies (and the worst) by Tomatometer!

#42
Adjusted Score: 31373%
Critics Consensus: The cinematography is gorgeous, but the movie plays it fast and loose with history and the novel it was adapted from. Mostly, the movie fails because the romance between the leads strains credulity and the story is largely uninvolving.
Synopsis: An epic tale about the enduring hope of love and the devastating brutality of war, set amid the Italian occupation... [More]
Directed By: John Madden

#41
#41
Adjusted Score: 38925%
Critics Consensus: While sporadically stirring, and suitably epic in its ambitions, Exodus: Gods and Kings can't quite live up to its classic source material.
Synopsis: Egyptian Princes Moses (Christian Bale) and Ramses (Joel Edgerton) are raised together as brothers. When Ramses becomes pharaoh, Moses is... [More]
Directed By: Ridley Scott

#40
#40
Adjusted Score: 45782%
Critics Consensus: With storytelling as robotic as the film's iconic villains, Terminator Salvation offers plenty of great effects but lacks the heart of the original films.
Synopsis: Although Judgment Day has in fact occurred, the future for which John Connor (Christian Bale) was prepared has been partly... [More]
Directed By: McG

#39

Newsies (1992)
39%

#39
Adjusted Score: 41683%
Critics Consensus: Extra! Extra! Read all about Newsies instead of suffering through its underwhelming musical interludes, although Christian Bale makes for a spirited hero.
Synopsis: In this musical, homeless New York City newsboy Jack "Cowboy" Kelly (Christian Bale) befriends two newcomers to his trade, brothers... [More]
Directed By: Kenny Ortega

#38

Equilibrium (2002)
41%

#38
Adjusted Score: 42828%
Critics Consensus: Equilibrium is a reheated mishmash of other sci-fi movies.
Synopsis: In a futuristic world, a regime has eliminated war by suppressing emotions: books, art and music are strictly forbidden and... [More]
Directed By: Kurt Wimmer

#37
#37
Adjusted Score: 42731%
Critics Consensus: Zhang Yimou's stylistic flair is in full bloom during The Flowers of War, but his colorful treatment of a historical genocide ultimately does a disservice to the horrifying events' inherent drama.
Synopsis: An American (Christian Bale) tries to protect a group of Chinese students and prostitutes from Japanese soldiers in 1937 Nanjing.... [More]
Directed By: Zhang Yimou

#36

Reign of Fire (2002)
42%

#36
Adjusted Score: 47021%
Critics Consensus: Reign of Fire gains some altitude with its pyrotechnic action and a smolderingly campy Matthew McConaughey, but the feature's wings are clipped by a derivative script and visual effects that fizzle out.
Synopsis: In present-day London, 12-year-old Quinn watches as his mother wakes an enormous fire-breathing beast from its centuries-long slumber. Twenty years... [More]
Directed By: Rob Bowman

#35
#35
Adjusted Score: 49154%
Critics Consensus: Beautiful, indulgently heady, and pretentious, The Portrait of a Lady paints Campion's directorial shortcomings in too bright a light.
Synopsis: Ms. Isabel Archer (Nicole Kidman) isn't afraid to challenge societal norms. Impressed by her free spirit, her kindhearted cousin writes... [More]
Directed By: Jane Campion

#34

Knight of Cups (2015)
47%

#34
Adjusted Score: 57170%
Critics Consensus: Knight of Cups finds Terrence Malick delving deeper into the painterly visual milieu he's explored in recent efforts, but even hardcore fans may struggle with the diminishing narrative returns.
Synopsis: A Los Angeles screenwriter (Christian Bale) indulges his wild side with a stripper (Teresa Palmer), a model (Freida Pinto) and... [More]
Directed By: Terrence Malick

#33

Harsh Times (2005)
48%

#33
Adjusted Score: 52110%
Critics Consensus: Despite a dedicated performance by Christian Bale, Harsh Times suffers from a heavy-handed and overly bleak plot.
Synopsis: Jim (Christian Bale) is a Gulf War veteran and he believes it is his sworn duty to protect Americans by... [More]
Directed By: David Ayer

#32

The Promise (2016)
51%

#32
Adjusted Score: 61638%
Critics Consensus: The Promise wastes an outstanding cast and powerful real-life story on a love triangle that frustratingly fails to engage.
Synopsis: Brilliant medical student Michael (Oscar Isaac) meets beautiful dance instructor Ana (Charlotte Le Bon) in late 1914. Their shared Armenian... [More]
Directed By: Terry George

#31
Adjusted Score: 35797%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In 1880s London, pornographic bookseller Verloc (Bob Hoskins) is a double agent for the Russian government, providing information to Chief... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Hampton

#30
Adjusted Score: 57812%
Critics Consensus: Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle brings impressive special effects to bear on the darker side of its classic source material, but loses track of the story's heart along the way.
Synopsis: Human child Mowgli is raised by a wolf pack in the jungles of India. As he learns the often harsh... [More]
Directed By: Andy Serkis

#29

Swing Kids (1993)
56%

#29
Adjusted Score: 55750%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: American big-band jazz beats in the hearts of young German friends (Robert Sean Leonard, Christian Bale, Frank Whaley) confronted by... [More]
Directed By: Thomas Carter

#28
#28
Adjusted Score: 60836%
Critics Consensus: While it may not make the most of its incredible cast, Out of the Furnace is still so packed with talent that it's hard to turn away.
Synopsis: Steelworker Russell Baze (Christian Bale) works a dead-end job and holds tight to his sense of family, duty and loyalty.... [More]
Directed By: Scott Cooper

#27

Pocahontas (1995)
55%

#27
Adjusted Score: 58349%
Critics Consensus: Pocahontas means well, and has moments of startling beauty, but it's largely a bland, uninspired effort, with uneven plotting and an unfortunate lack of fun.
Synopsis: This is the Disney animated tale of the romance between a young American Indian woman named Pocahontas (Irene Bedard) and... [More]

#26

Velvet Goldmine (1998)
59%

#26
Adjusted Score: 59975%
Critics Consensus: Velvet Goldmine takes a visual and narrative approach befitting its larger-than-life subject, although it's still disappointingly less than the sum of its parts.
Synopsis: Glam rock star Brian Slade (Jonathan Rhys Myers) plays a character on stage named Maxwell Demon who predicts his death... [More]
Directed By: Todd Haynes

#25

The New World (2005)
63%

#25
Adjusted Score: 70884%
Critics Consensus: Despite arresting visuals and strong lead performances, The New World suffers from an unfocused narrative that will challenge viewers' attention spans over its 2 1/2 hours.
Synopsis: Arriving with a British expedition in Virginia in 1607, Capt. John Smith (Colin Farrell) is captured by Native Americans. His... [More]
Directed By: Terrence Malick

#24

Metroland (1997)
64%

#24
Adjusted Score: 65079%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In late-1970s suburban London, Chris (Christian Bale) and Marion (Emily Watson) have settled into a comfortable yet all-too-predictable middle-class existence.... [More]
Directed By: Philip Saville

#23
#23
Adjusted Score: 68428%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Bobby (Christian Bale) is a mentally handicapped young man with an affinity for animals. He runs away from home after... [More]
Directed By: Jeremy Thomas

#22

Vice (2018)
65%

#22
Adjusted Score: 87583%
Critics Consensus: Vice takes scattershot aim at its targets, but writer-director Adam McKay hits some satisfying bullseyes -- and Christian Bale's transformation is a sight to behold.
Synopsis: Gov. George W. Bush of Texas picks Dick Cheney, the CEO of Halliburton Co., to be his Republican running mate... [More]
Directed By: Adam McKay

#21
Adjusted Score: 70388%
Critics Consensus: Faultless production and shining performances display the Bard's talent propitiously.
Synopsis: This version of the renowned comedic play finds the world of humans intersecting with the realm of magic. The lovely... [More]
Directed By: Michael Hoffman

#20

Shaft (2000)
67%

#20
Adjusted Score: 70184%
Critics Consensus: With a charismatic lead, this new Shaft knows how to push the right buttons.
Synopsis: Crooked cops on the take -- small-time drug lords -- sleazy informers and sadistic rich kids ready to kill ---... [More]
Directed By: John Singleton

#19

Public Enemies (2009)
68%

#19
Adjusted Score: 78789%
Critics Consensus: Michael Mann's latest is a competent and technically impressive gangster flick with charismatic lead performances, but some may find the film lacks truly compelling drama.
Synopsis: Depression-era bank robber John Dillinger's (Johnny Depp) charm and audacity endear him to much of America's downtrodden public, but he's... [More]
Directed By: Michael Mann

#18

Laurel Canyon (2002)
69%

#18
Adjusted Score: 71400%
Critics Consensus: Though the movie itself is flawed, McDormand is fantastic as Jane.
Synopsis: Sam (Christian Bale) and his fiancée, Alex (Kate Beckinsale), move to Los Angeles for the summer to stay at the... [More]
Directed By: Lisa Cholodenko

#17

American Psycho (2000)
69%

#17
Adjusted Score: 74646%
Critics Consensus: If it falls short of the deadly satire of Bret Easton Ellis's novel, American Psycho still finds its own blend of horror and humor, thanks in part to a fittingly creepy performance by Christian Bale.
Synopsis: In New York City in 1987, a handsome, young urban professional, Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), lives a second life as... [More]
Directed By: Mary Harron

#16

Hostiles (2017)
71%

#16
Adjusted Score: 83456%
Critics Consensus: Hostiles benefits from stunning visuals and a solid central performance from Christian Bale, both of which help elevate its uneven story.
Synopsis: In 1892, legendary Army Capt. Joseph Blocker reluctantly agrees to escort a dying Cheyenne war chief and his family back... [More]
Directed By: Scott Cooper

#15
#15
Adjusted Score: 79377%
Critics Consensus: One of Steven Spielberg's most ambitious efforts of the 1980s, Empire of the Sun remains an underrated gem in the director's distinguished filmography.
Synopsis: Jamie Graham (Christian Bale), a privileged English boy, is living in Shanghai when the Japanese invade and force all foreigners... [More]
Directed By: Steven Spielberg

#14

The Prestige (2006)
76%

#14
Adjusted Score: 83673%
Critics Consensus: Full of twists and turns, The Prestige is a dazzling period piece that never stops challenging the audience.
Synopsis: An illusion gone horribly wrong pits two 19th-century magicians, Alfred Borden (Christian Bale) and Rupert Angier (Hugh Jackman), against each... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#13

I'm Not There (2007)
77%

#13
Adjusted Score: 84364%
Critics Consensus: I'm Not There's unique editing, visuals, and multiple talented actors portraying Bob Dylan make for a deliciously unconventional experience. Each segment brings a new and fresh take on Dylan's life.
Synopsis: Several actors portray legendary singer-songwriter Bob Dylan at different stages in his personal life and career. In 1959 a guitar-strumming... [More]
Directed By: Todd Haynes

#12

The Machinist (2004)
77%

#12
Adjusted Score: 81656%
Critics Consensus: Brad Anderson's dark psychological thriller about a sleepless factory worker is elevated by Christian Bale astonishingly committed performance.
Synopsis: Factory worker Trevor Reznik (Christian Bale) suffers from insomnia so severe that his condition has taken its toll on his... [More]
Directed By: Brad Anderson

#11

Batman Begins (2005)
84%

#11
Adjusted Score: 95916%
Critics Consensus: Brooding and dark, but also exciting and smart, Batman Begins is a film that understands the essence of one of the definitive superheroes.
Synopsis: A young Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) travels to the Far East, where he's trained in the martial arts by Henri... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#10
#10
Adjusted Score: 104859%
Critics Consensus: The Dark Knight Rises is an ambitious, thoughtful, and potent action film that concludes Christopher Nolan's franchise in spectacular fashion.
Synopsis: It has been eight years since Batman (Christian Bale), in collusion with Commissioner Gordon (Gary Oldman), vanished into the night.... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

#9
#9
Adjusted Score: 92524%
Critics Consensus: Exquisitely illustrated by master animator Miyazaki, Howl's Moving Castle will delight children with its fantastical story and touch the hearts and minds of older viewers as well.
Synopsis: Sophie (Emily Mortimer) has an uneventful life at her late father's hat shop, but all that changes when she befriends... [More]
Directed By: Hayao Miyazaki

#8

The Big Short (2015)
89%

#8
Adjusted Score: 101789%
Critics Consensus: The Big Short approaches a serious, complicated subject with an impressive attention to detail -- and manages to deliver a well-acted, scathingly funny indictment of its real-life villains in the bargain.
Synopsis: In 2008, Wall Street guru Michael Burry realizes that a number of subprime home loans are in danger of defaulting.... [More]
Directed By: Adam McKay

#7

3:10 to Yuma (2007)
89%

#7
Adjusted Score: 97718%
Critics Consensus: This remake of a classic Western improves on the original, thanks to fiery performances from Russell Crowe and Christian Bale as well as sharp direction from James Mangold.
Synopsis: Outlaw Ben Wade (Russell Crowe) terrorizes 1800s Arizona, especially the Southern Railroad, until he is finally captured. Wade must be... [More]
Directed By: James Mangold

#6

Rescue Dawn (2006)
90%

#6
Adjusted Score: 94180%
Critics Consensus: Director Werner Herzog has once again made a compelling tale of man versus nature, and Christian Bale completely immerses himself in the role of fighter pilot (and prisoner of war) Dieter Dengler.
Synopsis: During the Vietnam War, Dieter Dengler (Christian Bale), a U.S. fighter pilot, is shot down over Laos and taken captive... [More]
Directed By: Werner Herzog

#5

The Fighter (2010)
91%

#5
Adjusted Score: 101976%
Critics Consensus: Led by a trio of captivating performances from Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, and Amy Adams, The Fighter is a solidly entertaining, albeit predictable, entry in the boxing drama genre.
Synopsis: For Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg), boxing is a family affair. His tough-as-nails mother is his manager. His half-brother, Dicky (Christian... [More]
Directed By: David O. Russell

#4

Little Women (1994)
93%

#4
Adjusted Score: 94167%
Critics Consensus: Thanks to a powerhouse lineup of talented actresses, Gillian Armstrong's take on Louisa May Alcott's Little Women proves that a timeless story can succeed no matter how many times it's told.
Synopsis: In this 1994 adaptation of Louisa May Alcott's classic, the March sisters confront growing pains, financial shortages, family tragedies and... [More]
Directed By: Gillian Armstrong

#3

American Hustle (2013)
92%

#3
Adjusted Score: 103253%
Critics Consensus: Riotously funny and impeccably cast, American Hustle compensates for its flaws with unbridled energy and some of David O. Russell's most irrepressibly vibrant direction.
Synopsis: Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) dabbles in forgery and loan-sharking, but when he falls for fellow grifter Sydney Prosser (Amy Adams),... [More]
Directed By: David O. Russell

#2

Ford v Ferrari (2019)
92%

#2
Adjusted Score: 114307%
Critics Consensus: Ford v Ferrari delivers all the polished auto action audiences will expect -- and balances it with enough gripping human drama to satisfy non-racing enthusiasts.
Synopsis: American automotive designer Carroll Shelby and fearless British race car driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics... [More]
Directed By: James Mangold

#1

The Dark Knight (2008)
94%

#1
Adjusted Score: 107468%
Critics Consensus: Dark, complex, and unforgettable, The Dark Knight succeeds not just as an entertaining comic book film, but as a richly thrilling crime saga.
Synopsis: With the help of allies Lt. Jim Gordon (Gary Oldman) and DA Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), Batman (Christian Bale) has... [More]
Directed By: Christopher Nolan

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While sitting on a Comic Con panel, Frank Miller was asked about the hold-up on Sin City 2. (Numerous times, probably.) And it looks like the celebrated author / artist / filmmaker is laying the blame solely at the feet of the Weinstein brothers.

Could it be that Grindhouse threw a monkey wrench into future Weinstein production plans? Sheer speculation on my part, but I’d have thought a Sin City sequel would be a no-brainer by this point. Then again, both Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez are presently hard at work on other projects — to say nothing of the large number of busy actors who’d be needed. So there’s probably enough "blame" to go around, really.

According to Dark Horizons, Mr. Miller "confirmed that he and Robert Rodriguez have a script ready – an adaptation of A Dame to Kill and some of the book’s other short stories — but left the cryptic hint that the Weinstein’s themselves are part of the hold up — likely tying into the fledgling distributor’s lack of success so far at the box-office."

OK, so the Weinsteins didn’t exactly set the world on fire with Grindhouse, Miss Potter, Bobby, The Matador, Derailed, Pulse, Breaking and Entering, Harsh Times, DOA: Dead or Alive, The Gathering, Unknown, The Ex, Nomad, School for Scoundrels, Black Christmas, Arthur and the Invisibles, or Factory Girl — but they’re doing OK with 1408 and Sicko. Plus they’ve got some treats in store (Grace Is Gone is excellent, The Mist sounds great so far) for later this year. And maybe someday they’ll actually release Killshot, Teeth and Rogue and make a few dollars off of ’em. Still it’s tough to feel bad for the guys who put money behind Who’s Your Caddy? and Hannibal Rising. Then again, Clerks 2 was pretty darn funny.

Anyway, yeah: Sin City 2. As the highway signs sometimes say: Expect delays.

Source: Dark Horizons

The post-turkey blues will kick in as the North American box office should slump this weekend following a busy Thanksgiving holiday frame.

Three new releases venture into the multiplexes. The Biblical drama "The Nativity Story" will open in the most theaters and try to court a faith-based audience as Christmas nears. Teens and young adults looking to push the envelope with R-rated fare have the college comedy "Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj" and the horror thriller "Turistas." Meanwhile, the penguin toon "Happy Feet" and the James Bond actioner "Casino Royale" will both be past the $100M mark by Friday and will try to stay atop the charts for a third straight time.

The story of Baby Jesus comes to the big screen with New Line’s "The Nativity Story" which stars Keisha Castle-Hughes ("Whale Rider") as Mary. The PG-rated film should appeal to Christian parents wanting to share the religious saga with their children in an environment that the whole family can enjoy. Certainly "The Passion of the Christ" showed how big a Biblical film could be at the box office. However, "Nativity" is completely different and does not have that film’s high-profile director, controversy, or national media frenzy.


Keisha Castle-Hughes and friends in "The Nativity Story."

Instead, it may tap into the same audience as October’s Babylon epic "One Night With the King" which opened to $4.1M from just 909 theaters for a $4,518 average. "The Nativity Story" will launch in more than twice the number of theaters and has a more timely release with December 25 right around the corner, but could generate a similar per-theater average. Critics have not been kind to the pic which might prompt some to wait for the DVD. Opening in around 2,800 theaters, "The Nativity Story" could collect about $13M over the weekend.

Four and a half years after the release of National Lampoon’s first raunchy college comedy "Van Wilder" comes a new installment with "Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj." This R-rated tale finds Taj (Kal Penn) from the first film moving to England to teach a group of misfits how to party down. It’s been a tough road in recent weeks for R-rated films aimed at young males. "Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny," "Let’s Go to Prison," and "Harsh Times" all opened with about $2M or $3M a piece. "Taj" has some brand recognition since the first "Van Wilder" went on to become popular on video and on cable. In theaters, it opened to $7.3M and a $3,612 average in April 2002 leading to a $21M final. However, a crowded marketplace will make it tough for the sequel to stand out. And "Borat" becoming a runaway smash with four straight $10M+ weekends won’t help either. Opening in 2,000 around theaters, "Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj" might debut with about $5M.


Kal Penn returns in "Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj."

Fox’s new division Fox Atomic, which will cater to teen and young adult audiences, sets sail with its first film with the horror pic "Turistas." The R-rated thriller is directed by John Stockwell ("Blue Crush," "Crazy/Beautiful") and follows a group of American tourists on vacation in Brazil who cross paths with creepy organ harvesters. No starpower here. Instead, Fox is hoping to appeal to college kids looking for a good scare. Outside of older teens and twentysomethings, appeal should be minimal. Even with its core audience, "Turistas" will have to share shelf space with "Taj" so potential will be limited. Opening in less than 2,000 theaters, "Turistas" could find its way to a weekend gross of roughly $4M.


A trio of scared turistas in "Turistas."

Among holdovers, films usually suffer steep declines on the weekend after the Thanksgiving holiday frame. Overall box office spending contracts and studios usually avoid programming any of their heavy hitters into the slot. In fact in the last 15 years, only one new release has opened at number one during this particular weekend – 2003’s "The Last Samurai."

This weekend, it could end up being "Happy Feet" and "Casino Royale" duking it out for box office supremacy for the third straight time. Family pics do extremely well over the turkey frame, but then come down hard a week later. Plus "The Nativity Story" could provide some competition for families. Warner Bros. might suffer a 55% fall for its penguin film which would leave it with $17M for the weekend and $120M after 17 days.

The new blonde Bond is pleasing audiences worldwide and in the United States, "Casino Royale" is set to give "Die Another Day" a run for its money thanks to good word-of-mouth. With kids back in school, the Sony adventure film has taken over the number one spot during the mid-week period. "Casino" could drop by 50% this weekend to around $15M which would push the domestic cume to $116M. Look for the global tally to surpass the $400M mark with ease by the end of the holiday season.

Last weekend, Denzel Washington‘s action thriller "Deja Vu" got off to a good start with a $28.6M five-day bow. Buena Vista may witness a 50% drop and collect roughly $10M over three days and raise its 12-day total to $43M.

LAST YEAR: For the third straight weekend, "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" rose to the head of the class and grossed $19.9M to lead the box office. Paramount opened its Charlize Theron actioner "Aeon Flux" to $12.7M on its way to a lukewarm $25.9M. It was the only new wide release of the weekend. "Walk the Line" dropped to third with $9.5M, "Yours, Mine, and Ours" placed fourth with $8.3M, and "Just Friends" rounded out the top five with $5.6M.

There was no stopping the Kazakh sensation Borat which expanded nationally this weekend after a stunning debut and remained at the top of the North American box office once again.

In fact, the top three spots remained unchanged as ticket buyers ignored most of the new offerings aimed at them this weekend. Will Ferrell‘s new comedy Stranger Than Fiction posted a respectable opening, but Hollywood stars Russell Crowe and Sarah Michelle Gellar suffered some of the worst openings of their careers this weekend as their new films, A Good Year and The Return respectively, were both dead on arrival. The overall marketplace struggled to keep pace with previous years as for the first time since 1997, the first half of November failed to deliver a single film with a weekend gross of at least $30M.

Borat crushed its competitors for a second straight weekend as the raunchy docu-comedy expanded from 837 to 2,566 theaters and grossed a stellar $29M, according to studio estimates. By more than tripling its theater count, Fox put its hit into full nationwide release and actually saw its three-day take climb 10% over the debut frame. Borat’s per-theater average understandably dropped by two-thirds this weekend to a still strong $11,302. The ten-day cume stands at an amazing $67.8M and at its current pace, the $18M movie-film could find its way to the $140M mark from the domestic market alone.

Thanks to a wave of media hype this fall, the Sacha Baron Cohen creation has become a national phenomenon and is already make benefit from glorious word-of-mouth and repeat business, according to the studio. Holdover theaters witnessed drops of about 30% from last weekend which is encouraging as it moves forward to fight off James Bond and other holiday pics armed with a war chest full of marketing dollars. Borat has become the first film to spend back-to-back weekends at number one since the football drama Invincible which opened in August, and has generated the best ten-day start of any movie since the Will Ferrell blockbuster Talladega Nights which also co-starred Cohen. Both comedies saw their main stars appearing on talk shows in-character to generate publicity.

Holding steady in the runnerup spot was Disney’s Christmas flick The Santa Clause 3 which dipped only 13% to an estimated $16.9M. After ten days, the Tim Allen sequel has grossed $41.1M putting it behind the pace of the last installment in the franchise. In 2002, The Santa Clause 2 also bowed on the first weekend of November and dropped 15% to $24.7M in its sophomore session. Its ten-day cume of $60M repped 43% of its eventual $139.2M gross. Clause 3 looks to be on course to erode at a similar pace which would allow it to reach the vicinity of $90M.

Also staying put for a second weekend was the animated comedy Flushed Away which remained in third place with an estimated $16.7M. Off only 11%, the Paramount release has upped its cume to $39.9M and remains just a step behind Santa. With better buzz and a slightly slimmer decline, Flushed could also reach the same region and conclude its run near the $90M level.

Santa and Flushed opened last weekend and split the family audience almost evenly with only a $700,000 difference in their weekend debuts. This frame, the gap was cut down to only $200,000. Per-theater averages were also close with Santa averaging $4,885 from 3,458 and Flushed averaging $4,508 from 3,707 sites. But both films will face stiff competition on Friday when Warner Bros. goes after the exact same crowd with its heavily-hyped penguin toon Happy Feet which has been backed by a sizable marketing push.

Will Ferrell‘s newest comedy Stranger Than Fiction led the frame’s new releases and bowed in fourth place with an estimated $14.1M from 2,264 theaters. Averaging a solid $6,228, the PG-13 film about a man who discovers his life is being narrated by an author earned good reviews and co-starred Emma Thompson, Dustin Hoffman, and Maggie Gyllenhaal. The production budget for the Sony release was under $30M. According to studio data, Fiction’s audience was 55% female while 53% were under 30. As a smart comedy aimed at young adults, the film did not open like Ferrell’s bigger smashes like Talladega Nights ($47M), but it does hope to have good legs.

The horror sequel Saw III fell hard once again dropping 55% in its third weekend to an estimated $6.6M pushing the 17-day cume to $69.9M. The third installment in the popular torture franchise is running a bit behind the pace of last year’s Saw II which enjoyed a third-weekend take of $9.1M for a total of $73.9M over the same number of days.

After two successful weeks in limited release, Paramount Vantage’s cross-continent drama Babel expanded nationally to mixed results with an estimated $5.7M. The Brad PittCate Blanchett pic averaged a decent $4,517 from 1,251 locations and raised its sum to $7.5M. Last weekend, Babel grossed just under $1M from 35 theaters for a potent $26,264 average, but arthouse films don’t always remain powerful after expanding into all regions of North America.

Martin Scorsese‘s The Departed took in an estimated $5.2M in its sixth mission, down 32%, giving Warner Bros. $109.8M to date. With $58M overseas, the Leonardo DiCaprioMatt Damon cop drama sits at more than $168M worldwide and counting. Opening close behind in eighth place was the horror pic The Return with an estimated $4.8M from 1,986 theaters for a weak $2,405 average. For Sarah Michelle Gellar, the PG-13 film’s debut represented her second worst opening ever in a lead role after 1999’s Simply Irresistible with $2.2M. Focus Features was the distributor.

The magician pic The Prestige followed with an estimated $4.6M, off 38%, for a $46M cume to date for Buena Vista. Like Gellar, Russell Crowe also bombed with his new entry. The romantic comedy A Good Year bowed to just $3.8M, according to estimates, averaging a poor $1,827 per theater from 2,066 sites. Fox’s PG-13 pic barely entered the top ten as Crowe suffered his worst opening since Mystery, Alaska‘s $3.1M launch in 1999. Like so many other fall films targeting mature adults, Year just did not have room to breathe and flopped instantly. Poor reviews also hurt the Ridley Scott-directed picture which played mostly to older women.

Another new release that failed to excite paying customers was MGM’s action thriller Harsh Times which debuted outside of the top ten with an estimated $1.8M from 956 locations. Averaging a sluggish $1,913 per site, the R-rated pic finds Christian Bale playing a bad cop on the streets of South Central.

Four films dropped out of the top ten this weekend. Clint Eastwood‘s war saga Flags of Our Fathers grossed an estimated $2.8M falling 36% in its fourth attack. The $90M Paramount release has amassed only $31M to date and looks headed for an underwhelming $38-40M finish. Miramax’s awards contender The Queen continued to expand, but faced the first weekend decline of its seven-week run. The Helen Mirren film collected an estimated $2.6M from 484 venues for a decent $5,372 average. The Queen was playing in 387 theaters last week and bumped its cume to $13.8M while its average declined by 29%.

Sony’s hit toon Open Season tumbled 53% to an estimated $1.4M. With $83.5M in the bank, the $85M film should end its season with around $86M. Just a week away from giving audiences a dual voice role in the Warner Bros. toon Happy Feet, funnyman Robin Williams saw his political comedy Man of the Year pass the $36M mark. A final tally of just under $40M seems likely for the not-so-stellar Universal title.

The top ten films grossed an estimated $107.4M which was dead even with last year when Chicken Little remained at number one with $31.7M; and down 18% from 2004 when The Incredibles stayed in the top spot with $50.3M.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This weekend, multiplexes hope to cram in lots of moviegoers thanks to a wide selection of new films. Six movies open or expand nationally on Friday making for what will be one of the most competitive weekends of the holiday season.

Adult audiences looking for a laugh can see Will Ferrell in a more mature role in "Stranger Than Fiction." The female vote will be split with daughters going for a scare with Sarah Michelle Gellar in "The Return" while their mothers can spend the evening with Russell Crowe in the romantic comedy "A Good Year." The action flick "Harsh Times" rounds out the menu of new releases targeting young men.

In addition, the cross-continent drama "Babel" expands across the country after two weeks of stellar results in limited release. Despite all the new opponents entering the field, reigning box office incumbent "Borat" will go fully national in an attempt to be re-elected for a second term as commander-in-chief. Rarely does a November weekend have so many new offerings. The fight for screens and moviegoer attention will be fierce. Not every film will survive so some casualties will be left behind on the battlefield by the end of the frame.

After battling Sacha Baron Cohen with race cars last summer in "Talladega Nights," Will Ferrell once again takes on the British comedian at the box office with "Stranger Than Fiction" which will try to stop the seemingly unstoppable "Borat" machine. In the PG-13 film, the funnyman plays an agent with the IRS who begins to hear a voice narrating his life and his every move. Emma Thompson provides the voice while Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, and Queen Latifah co-star. Directed by Marc Forster ("Finding Neverland," "Monster’s Ball"), "Stranger" takes an A-list comedian and puts him in a more mature and serious film that still has some comedic elements. That means that the 14-year-old boys who powered "Talladega Nights" to a $47M opening will take a pass this time around.

When Jim Carrey went arthouse, he saw "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind" open to $8.2M with a $6,042 average and "Man on the Moon" bow to $7.5M with a $3,615 average. Adam Sandler‘s "Spanglish" debuted to $8.8M and a $3,617 average. It can often be a tough sell to take a comedian known mostly for mainstream comedies and put him into a more mature film, even if it still has laughs. "Stranger Than Fiction" might find it difficult to pull in teens and young adults, but mature adults will have interest. Reviews have been generally good and the concept makes the film stand out in the current marketplace. Competition for adults will come from both "Babel" and "A Good Year" while "Borat" will continue to steal away millions of moviegoers looking for a good laugh. Launching in 2,264 theaters, "Stranger Than Fiction" might open with roughly $16M.


Will Ferrell screaming at a bus in "Stranger Than Fiction."

Halloween may have passed but those in search of a scare, and were disappointed that "The Grudge 2" did not have Sarah Michelle Gellar in a full role, will have a chance to see their favorite vampire slayer in the new supernatural thriller "The Return." With a commercially friendly PG-13 rating, the spookfest finds Gellar playing a young businesswoman guided by mysterious forces to avenge her own death from a previous life. In the horror genre, Gellar is a bonafide star and can pull in teens and young adults. But with so many fright sequels cramming into theaters recently during the pre-pumpkin period, many genre fans might be all scared out by now. Luckily for "The Return," competition will not be too fierce as nothing else is exciting teenage girls at the moment. The marketing push has been decent, but in many ways it does not stand out as something special or unique that is worth seeing right away. Opening in 1,986 theaters, "The Return" might gross around $8M over the weekend.


Sarah Michelle Gellar, padding her horror credentials in "The Return."

Russell Crowe reteams with his "Gladiator" director Ridley Scott for a trip to a new genre (romantic comedy) in "A Good Year." The PG-13 film finds the former Maximus playing a financial guru who finds women and wine at a french vineyard he inherits. Talk about a tough sell. On paper, the Scott-Crowe combo is box office gold, only they chose to try out a type of film that will repel fans who spent $187.7M on the 2000 Best Picture Oscar winner. Plus the Fox release has no notable female star to boost its potential. Add to that the bad buzz that "Year" received at the Toronto Film Festival plus the mostly negative reviews from critics, and it surely will have its work cut out for it. Could this be "All the King’s Men" all over again?

"A Good Year" stands as that rare film which reunites an Oscar-caliber director with an Oscar-winning actor that earns bad reviews and lukewarm studio support. Crowe’s last film "Cinderella Man" bowed to $18.3M from 2,812 theaters for a $6,515 average in June of last year and was considered an underperformer. The actor’s latest picture lacks the Ron Howard film’s strong critical support, added starpower from Renee Zellweger, and sizable push from Universal. "A Good Year" should play mostly to adult female audiences as the male appeal is low. That makes "Babel" and "Stranger Than Fiction," which have better cross-gender appeal, direct competitors this weekend for mature couples. Opening in 2,066 theaters, "A Good Year" could find itself with about $8M this weekend and a rough road ahead.


Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott enter chick flick territory with "A Good Year."

Still in the top ten with "The Prestige," Christian Bale comes back for double duty in the new action thriller "Harsh Times" from MGM. The R-rated film from the writer of "Training Day" finds the Caped Crusader playing an ex-Army Ranger enlisting with the LAPD who still has ties into the crime world in South Central. "Harsh" will play to urban audiences and should skew male but will find the marketplace difficult to navigate with bigger titles like "Borat" and "Saw III" already doing strong business with that demo. Bale lacks the drawing power of Denzel Washington in his Oscar-winning role in "Training Day" so the grosses should not be in the same ballpark. A moderate national release in over 900 theaters will also limit the potential. "Harsh Times" will have to fight hard in order to crack the top ten and could finish the frame with around $3M.


Christian Bale as a psychopath in "Harsh Times."

Among holdovers, all eyes will be on "Borat" this weekend. Can the Kazakh superstar spend another weekend at number one? Following its robust $26.5M bow from 837 theaters, the Sacha Baron Cohen starrer has delivered solid midweek results grossing over $3M on both Monday and Tuesday. Now, Fox will expand the raunchy comedy on Friday by more than tripling the run to 2,565 theaters allowing everyone to have easy access to the most-talked-about film of the season. Word-of-mouth has been encouraging and "Borat" might even reach the Holy Grail of the box office – repeat business.

Last weekend’s potent average of $31,607 will certainly come crashing down since the film will be in more theaters and most of the hardcore fans have now already seen it. But the buzz is still hot and the Uzbekistan-hating TV journalist is now trying to crossover into new audience segments not initially sold on the concept last week. With the frame’s new films all a mixed bag without a surefire smash among them, "Borat" looks ready to retain its hold on the number one spot. A weekend gross of around $24M could result giving Fox a stellar $62M in only ten days.


"Kazakhstan is the greatest…"

Another cross-cultural film with a five-letter title starting with a B expanding over the weekend is "Babel" starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. Paramount Vantage has attracted scorching results in limited release for two weeks and is now hoping that moviegoers nationwide are ready for the acclaimed drama. Last weekend, "Babel" popped into the Top 20 with a stellar $26,264 average from 35 locations. On Friday, the R-rated film expands to over 1,200 sites and should continue to play to an upscale adult audience.

"Babel" is likely to play to the same crowd that powered last December’s "Syriana" to a $11.7M bow from 1,752 theaters for a $6,699 average. That film had more theaters and a star, George Clooney, who is despised by many American moviegoers for his political beliefs. On the other hand, Pitt can cheat on his wife and father a baby with another woman, and the public still can’t get enough of him. That’s pure starpower. But "Babel" is not the type of commercial role that Pitt attracts large crowds to. Still, the average should be solid so given its level of distribution, "Babel" could gross about $10M this weekend.


Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett, looking rather disheveled in "Babel."

Disney and Paramount went head to head last weekend with competing kidpics and split the family vote in half pretty evenly. "Flushed Away" is getting better word-of-mouth and is offering audiences something new so its decline might be smaller than that of "The Santa Clause 3." Kid movies opening in early November typically have good legs and enjoy strong second weekend holds. Sophomore drops for recent films of the genre include 21% for last year’s "Chicken Little," 29% for 2004’s "The Incredibles," 15% for 2003’s "Elf," and 15% for 2002’s "The Santa Clause 2." This weekend, "Clause 3" might drop by 25% and "Flushed" could wash away 20% leaving each with a three-day tally in the neighborhood of $15M. That would push ten-day cumes to roughly $39M a piece for the Mouse House pic and the rat toon.

LAST YEAR: Disney’s poultry toon "Chicken Little" stayed at number one for a second weekend with an impressive $31.7M. Three new releases followed within a tight range. Sony’s big-budget kidpic "Zathura" bowed in second with $13.4M on its way to a disappointing $28.2M. Jennifer Aniston was close behind with her thriller "Derailed" which opened to $12.2M. The Weinstein Co. release went on to gross a moderate $36M. Paramount’s urban action pic "Get Rich or Die Tryin’" debuted in fourth place with a $12M weekend and $17.7M over five days. The 50 Cent starrer finished its run with $31M. Rounding out the top five was the military drama "Jarhead" which tumbled 58% to $11.7M. Premiering to sensational results was the period film "Pride & Prejudice" which grossed $2.9M from only 215 theaters for a sizzling $13,326 average. The Focus release went on to become an awards contender and took in $38.4M making it the top-grossing pic among the weekend’s new films.

Author: Gitesh Pandya, www.BoxOfficeGuru.com

This week at the movies, we ve got a rom-com in Provence ("A Good Year," starring Russell Crowe), a guy whose life is a novel ("Stranger than Fiction," starring Will Ferrell), interconnected tales of despair ("Babel," starring Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett), a tough homecoming ("Harsh Times," starring Christian Bale), and supernatural visions ("The Return," starring Sarah Michelle Gellar). What do the critics say?

"Stranger than Fiction" is a movie about a guy named Harold Crick (Will Ferrell) who discovers that his life is being narrated and controlled by a bitter, brilliant novelist (Emma Thompson) who intends to do him in. As a result, Crick tries to turn the tables and reclaim his own life story. Sounds totally meta, huh? Well, critics generally say this is one head trip that won’t trip you up, thanks to warm performances and an agreeably kooky (and not over-heady) script. At 68 percent on the Tomatometer, it’s a fact that "Fiction" is Fresh.


"Guess how much I liked ‘Mystery, Alaska.’"

There’s a new movie out called "A Good Year" that’s being described as "Under the Tuscan Sun" with a guy in the main role. Even weirder, it’s from the ultra-macho team of Ridley Scott and Russell Crowe — y’know, the dudes who brought you "Gladiator." Perhaps it isn’t much of a surprise that the critics are finding this pairing of filmmakers and material doesn’t totally work. Crowe stars as an arrogant, hyper-competitive London banker who inherits a house in Provence; laughs, love and life-lessons ensue. The scribes give Crowe and Scott props for trying to stretch, but unfortunately, they also say the film is working way too hard to be whimsical. At 29 percent on the Tomatometer, this "Year" isn’t looking so…. well, you get the idea.

"Babel" is a story of a shot heard ’round the world. A boy in Morocco unintentionally shoots an American tourist, and the ramifications of his mistake are felt in the U.S., Mexico, and Japan. Critics are praising Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu‘s latest as an elaborate, stylistically deft emotional juggling act, with fine performances from Brad Pitt, Cate Blanchett, and particularly Rinko Kikuchi as a deaf teenager trying to make her way in the world. If there is a complaint from the scribes, it’s that "Babel" may be overly ambitious, but most concede that it’s ambition of a high order. At 73 percent on the Tomatometer, "Babel" is Certified Fresh.


"I suggest you stop killing people; it’s doing a number on your cholesterol."

"Harsh Times" is not a movie with a misleading title. However, critics are split on whether this dark, intense story of an Iraq war vet returning home is ultimately rewarding. "Harsh Times" stars Christian Bale as a man consumed by his memories of war; as he tries to integrate back into society, he finds it impossible to suppress his violent impulses. Some critics have praised "Harsh Times" for its performances and intensity, but others say it’s too relentlessly grim and brutal to really be worthwhile. "Harsh Times" currently stands at 52 percent on the Tomatometer.

"The Return" marks Sarah Michelle Gellar‘s, uh, return to the horror genre. Guess what? It wasn’t screened for critics. Guess that Tomatometer, children.


"To tell you the truth, I’ve been listening to a lot of Prince lately."

Also opening this week in limited release: the Mongolian import "The Cave of the Yellow Dog," featuring breathtaking scenery as well as cute kids and adorable doggies, is at 100 percent on the Tomatometer; "Iraq in Fragments," a structurally adventurous documentary about the state of Iraq, is at 82 percent; "Cautiva," an Argentine film coming-of-age tale about an uprooted teenager, is at 80 percent; "Come Early Morning," a tale of Southern small-town life starring Ashley Judd, is at 65 percent; "F***," an examination of the English language’s naughtiest word, is at 50 percent; "Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diane Arbus," starring Nicole Kidman as the gifted but troubled photographer, is at 33 percent; and the historical fiction "Copying Beethoven," about the great composer’s relationship with a copyist, is at 27 percent.

Recent Russell Crowe Movies:
————————————-
81% — Cinderella Man (2005)
85% — Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)
78% — A Beautiful Mind (2001)
40% — Proof of Life (2000)
78% — Gladiator (2000)

Recent Will Ferrell Movies:
———————————-
72% — Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby (2006)
41% — Winter Passing (2006)
70% — Curious George (2006)
52% — The Producers (2005)
24% — Bewitched (2005)

I saw "Harsh Times" almost a year ago, and I remember thinking "Wow, Christian Bale is a force of freakin’ nature in this flick." I also expected that the actor’s fans would have a field day with this movie — which I’m sure they will, if the thing ever gets a release date. Until then, we do have a trailer link.

MGM / Bauer Martinez are the ones who own the movie, so you could probably direct your questions to them. But be sure to visit YouTube.com and check out the first international trailer for the rather intense crime flick.

"Harsh Times" represents the directorial debut of screenwriter David Ayer, whom you might remember from titles like "Dark Blue," "Training Day," "S.W.A.T.," "U-571," and "The Fast and the Furious." The flick’s about a blisteringly aggressive former Army Ranger who finds himself struggling to get used to "normal life" again. Freddy Rodriguez, also excellent, plays Bale’s best pal — and a guy who really should have better taste in friends.

Don’t ask me why Warner Bros. has decided to mount a remake of Sam Peckinpah‘s 1969 classic "The Wild Bunch," because I just don’t know. True, they hired a pretty solid filmmaker (David Ayer) to get the thing onto the screen, but get this: It’s not only a remake, but a modernization, too.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, ""Wild Bunch," originally directed by Sam Peckinpah in 1969, followed an aging group of outlaws looking for a last score in the fading American West. Ayer’s update is described as a thriller involving heists, drug cartels and the CIA, set in contemporary Mexico."

Mr. Ayer is best known for writing "The Fast and the Furious," "U-571," "Training Day," "S.W.A.T.," and "Dark Blue." He also wrote and made his directorial debut on "Harsh Times," which will be released early next year.

You might not be familiar with the name "Bauer Martinez" just yet, but if you’re a frequent moviegoer, you’ll know it soon enough. Bauer Martinez Distribution is a brand new outfit that aims to give films "medium-wide" release patterns — and hopefully score a few hits. Oh, and did I mention they bought a horror movie that stars Calista Flockhart? Well, they did.

From "Darkness" director Jaume Balaguero comes "Fragile," an allegedly twisted little horror thriller that takes place in a ramshackle children’s hospital. (The hospital is ramshackle, not the kids. They’re just ill.)

The English-language chiller was shot in Spain by the Filmax gang, the folks who brought us "Beyond Re-Animator," "Rottweiler," and "The Machinist." "Fragile" stars Calista Flockhart, Richard Roxburgh, Gemma Jones, and Colin McFarlane.

Also on the Bauer Martinez slate is the David Ayer‘s "Harsh Times," which stars Christian Bale and (editorial comment warning) is a darn good movie, and "The Moguls," starring Jeff Bridges and approximately 16 other actors you know and like. (OK, fine: Tim Blake Nelson, Ted Danson, William Fichtner, Joe Pantoliano, Lauren Graham, Isaiah Washington, Steven Weber, Judy Greer, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Patrick Fugit, John Hawkes, Tom Bower, Elden Hensen, Brad Garrett, Eileen Brennan, Valerie Perrine, and Glenne Headly.)

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